B.S. Materials Science & Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2002M.S. Materials Science & Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2004Ph.D. Materials Science & Engineering, Northwestern University, 2009

"If you look 'fast' enough, you will find many fascinating phenomena in 3D printing."

Our team currently studies additive manufacturing processes and materials using synchrotron x-ray and other in situ/ex situ characterization tools. We are interested in understanding the physics underlying the energy-matter interactions and non-equilibrium material structural evolution involved in additive manufacturing processes. We also develop advanced metallic and composite systems via and/or for additive manufacturing.

Supervised by Prof. Vinayak Dravid and Dr. Jin Wang, my doctoral research at Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory was focused on fabrication and characterization of nanostructured oxides. In 2010, I started my postdoc research at the X-ray Science Division (XSD) at Argonne, working on coherent electron scattering (with Dr. Murray Gibson) and coherent x-ray scattering (with Dr. Jin Wang) techniques. In 2012, I joined the Imaging Group of XSD as a staff scientist, developing and applying high-speed x-ray imaging/diffraction techniques for studying highly dynamic irreversible/non-repeatable material processes. In 2019, I started my academic career as an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of UVA.

Current team members:
- Zhongshu Ren (Fall 2020, transferred to Northwestern)
PhD students:
- Lin Gao (Spring 2020)
- Arthur Zhang (Fall 2020, co-advised by Prof. Ji Ma)
- Lilly Balderson (Fall 2021, co-advised by Prof. Beth Opila)
- Kyle Mumm (Fall 2022, transferred to Northwestern)
Undergraduate students:
- Kayla Blalack (Spring 2022)
- Duc-Lo Nguyen (Spring 2022)

Former team members (postdocs supervised in Argonne): 
- Cang Zhao, Assistant Professor, Tsinghua University
- Niranjan Parab, Process Engineer, Intel Corperation
- Sarah Wolff, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University


  • TMS Young Innovator in the Materials Science of Additive Manufacturing Award
  • TMS Structural Materials Division JOM Best Paper Award

Research Interests

  • Additive manufacturing processes and materials
  • Synchrotron x-ray imaging and scattering
  • Materials characterization
  • Highly dynamic processes in hard and soft condensed matters

In the News

Selected Publications

  • Machine learning–aided real-time detection of keyhole pore generation in laser powder bed fusion Zhongshu Ren, Lin Gao, Samuel J. Clark, Kamel Fezzaa, Pavel Shevchenko, Ann Choi, Wes Everhart, Anthony D. Rollett, Lianyi Chen, Tao Sun, Science, 379, (2023) 89
  • Critical instability at moving keyhole tip generates porosity in laser melting Cang Zhao, Niranjan D. Parab, Xuxiao Li, Kamel Fezzaa, Wenda Tan, Anthony D. Rollett, Tao Sun, Science, 370, (2020), 1080
  • Keyhole threshold and morphology in laser melting revealed by ultrahigh-speed x-ray imaging Ross Cunningham*, Cang Zhao*, Niranjan Parab, Christopher Kantzos, Joseph Pauza, Kamel Fezzaa, Tao Sun, Anthony Rollett, Science, 363, (2019) 849 (*equal contribution)
  • Bulk-Explosion-Induced Metal Spattering During Laser Processing Cang Zhao, Qilin Guo, Xuxiao Li, Niranjan Parab, Kamel Fezzaa, Wenda Tan, Lianyi Chen, Tao Sun, Physical Review X, 9, (2019) 021052
  • Universal scaling laws of keyhole stability and porosity in 3D printing of metals Zhengtao Gan, Orion Kafka, Niranjan Parab, Cang Zhao, Lichao Fang, Olle Heinonen, Tao Sun, Wing Kam Liu, Nature Communications, 12, (2021) 2379
  • Pore elimination mechanisms during 3D printing of metals S. Mohammad H. Hojjatzadeh, Niranjan D. Parab, Wentao Yan, Qilin Guo, Lianghua Xiong, Cang Zhao, Minglei Qu, Luis I. Escano, Xianghui Xiao, Kamel Fezzaa, Wes Everhart, Tao Sun, Lianyi Chen, ​Nature Communications, 10, (2019) 3088
  • In situ/operando synchrotron x-ray studies of metal additive manufacturing Tao Sun, Wenda Tan, Lianyi Chen, and Anthony Rollett, MRS Bulletin, 45, (2020) 927
  • Real time observation of binder jetting printing process using high-speed X-ray imaging Niranjan Parab, John Barnes, Cang Zhao, Ross Cunningham, Kamel Fezzaa, Anthony Rollett, Tao Sun, Scientific Reports, 9, (2019) 2499 (TOP 100 IN MATERIALS SCIENCE OF SCI. REP. IN 2019)
  • ​Ultrafast x-ray imaging of laser metal additive manufacturing processes Niranjan Parab*, Cang Zhao*, Ross Cunningham, Luis Escano, Kamel Fezzaa, Wesley Everhart, Anthony Rollett, Lianyi Chen, Tao Sun, Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, 25, (2018) 1467 (*equal contribution. Top 20 most read paper of JSR in 2018 and 2019)
  • Real-time monitoring of laser powder bed fusion process using high-speed X-ray imaging and diffraction Cang Zhao, Kamel Fezzaa, Ross Cunningham, Haidan Wen, Francesco De Carlo, Lianyi Chen, Anthony Rollett, Tao Sun, Scientific Reports, 7, (2017) 3602 (Top 100 in Materials Science of Sci. Rep. in 2017)
  • Laser melting modes in metal powder bed fusion additive manufacturing Cang Zhao, Bo Shi, Shuailei Chen, Dong Du, Tao Sun, Brian J Simonds, Kamel Fezzaa, Anthony D Rollett. Reviews of Modern Physics. 94, (2022) 045002

Courses Taught

  • MSE 4592/6592: X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials Science Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023
  • MSE 6120: Characterization of Materials Fall 2020
  • ENGR 1624: Introduction to Engineering Fall 2022